Progressive Insurance Faces Lawsuit for ‘Patently Unlawful’ Racism: $25K Black-Only Business Grants

Progressive Insurance is currently facing a lawsuit that accuses the company of engaging in “patently unlawful” racism through a program that grants $25,000 exclusively to black-owned businesses. The lawsuit, filed by the conservative group America First Legal (AFL) in an Ohio federal court, alleges that Progressive’s program discriminates against non-black small-business owners, including white, Asian, Hispanic, and others.

The class-action lawsuit, filed on behalf of Nathan Roberts, the owner of Freedom Truck Dispatch, contends that Progressive’s grants were offered to 10 “black-owned small businesses to use toward the purchase of a commercial vehicle.” The lawsuit asserts that only black-owned businesses were eligible for the grants, as Progressive claimed that studies have shown disparities that make it more difficult for black entrepreneurs to access capital.

The lawsuit also names Hello Alice as a defendant, as Progressive partnered with them for the financial awards to black-owned businesses with specific criteria. Progressive announced its 2023 grant winners through a press release, emphasizing its support for black entrepreneurs navigating the challenges of small business ownership.

The plaintiff, Roberts, argues that the entire program is rooted in racially discriminatory practices, requiring recipients to be black in order to qualify. AFL lawyer Gene Hamilton stated that this case is part of a broader effort to challenge large corporations that incorporate racial considerations into various aspects of their business operations and employment practices. The lawsuit seeks a declaration from the court that Progressive’s grants are illegal, along with “nominal” compensation for the plaintiffs and coverage of legal fees. The case shines a spotlight on the ongoing debate about affirmative action-like policies and their implications for equality and fairness in various sectors.

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